2015 Clinics

USDFD Oct. 5,6 clinic at Gayla

To view Pictures from the clinic Click Here.

Hi All,
I am just touching base with everyone. I am very excited about this clinic. We will start at 9 AM each day with a discussion on topics that everyone is interested in. From adaptive equipment, dispensations
fromrules, competing, recreational driving, safety, modification of carriages, suitable equines, International competition (classification). The topics will depend on what you the participant wants to know. We will setdrive times on Monday morning. Based on what people want to work on, we can do dressage, cones, hazards and just general driving, I suppose it alsodepends on the weather. Or if you have specific requests please let meknow. I have been a bit busy out of town for 12 days and then came homeand my aunt passed away unexpectedly this week. So I apologize for notcontacting everyone earlier this week. This clinic is meant to be for youthe participants and to help you achieve your goals with driving.

Pat Kastama, Pats husband, Frank are coming with 3 ponies (2 can share a stall or pen), Cathy Brock is coming with 2 mini’s they can also share a stall Jacqueline is going to borrow a horse and carriage (horse andcarriage already staying at Gayla with Craig and Marcie) Kristen is coming just Tuesday morning for a drive time of 10AM.

There is the possibility of some auditors also attending. If youcould let me know how many are in your party (ie are you by yourself or havehelp) I would appreciate it as I will arrange something for lunch both Monday and Tuesday. Not sure what yet. LOL as I’m in California right now. But I’m sure I can figure that out. I arrivein KY on Saturday evening to feel free to call me or text me on Sunday 805-458-2428 as I will be ironing out the details at that time.

Please if you have any questions let me know, and also if you canrespond back to me on your aprox arrival time that would help. I know many of you told me but would be easier if you would tell me again.

Thanks again,
Diane Kastama
Vice President United States Driving for the Disabled,Inc.

11219647_811338048985168_6473857106241717398_nUSEF and USDFD high performance clinic at Leslie Berndl’s with Olof Larsson. Great clinic last monday. Theresa Leal’s Maurice got the special award doing 4 lessons that day!!! Sherry Davis, Stefanie Putnam, Ginny Leal, Caroline and Diane Kastama all participated.!!! Photos by Tom Muehleisen

Newcastle, CA – August 31, 2015-For Actively Competing Para-Equestrian Drivers

Newcastle, CA – August 31, 2015- The United States Equestrian Federation, Inc. (USEF) is pleased to present a one day Para Equestrian Driving Clinic featuring clinician Olof Larsson at Whispering Oaks Performance Horses in Newcastle, California.

The high performance clinic is geared to currently competing para-equestrian drivers who are members of U. S. Driving for the Disabled (USDFD) and USEF. Breakfast, drinks, and lunch will be available and stabling for the prior evening is offered as well. USEF has arranged this wonderful opportunity for our drivers and has provided full sponsorship for the clinic. Leslie Berndl, owner of WOPH, has generously donated her facility to USEF and USDFD for this special event, as well as handling all of the food preparations and coordinating the logistics with Olof. Many thanks to USEF and to Leslie.

If you are interested, please contact Marcia Putnam at for application forms.

Location Information:
Whispering Oaks Performance Horses
1571 Oak Knoll Lane
Newcastle, CA 95658
Owner: Leslie Berndl

Contact Information:
Marcia Putnam
925-284-1857 (Home/FAX)
925-708-3387 (Cell)
15 Southampton Place
Lafayette, CA 94549

Clinician Biography:
Olof Larsson was born in Ystad, southern Sweden. Growing up he competed in jumping, dressage and three day events and ultimately converted one of his smaller ponies to driving, winning the Swedish National Championship in 1994 and 1995.

Totally hooked on driving, Olof went to work for the renowned international level Swedish four-in-hand driver, Tomas Eriksson, from 1995 to 1996. In 1996 Olof was accepted at the University of Equine Studies at Flyinge, the National Stud of Sweden. The education he received there over the next two years with a focus on driving and stable management was a highlight of his life.

In the late fall of 1998 Olof was offered the opportunity to show horses for Hilltop Farm, Maryland in the United States. This led to a position as manager of Chester Weber’s Ocala facility where he became an integral part of Live Oak and Team Weber’s outstanding successes for the following thirteen years. During this time Olof participated in a support capacity at nine World Championships.

Currently Olof and his wife Stacy own and operate Hidden Acres Dressage in Ocala where they develop and show all levels of dressage show horses. Olof continues to work as a driving clinician and trainer on a free lance basis. He attended the 2013 and 2014 World Championships as the manager of the Hillcroft Driving Team for Misdee Wrigley Miller. Misdee calls him “MacGyver” because he can fix anything! The urban dictionary for “MacGyver” is: “the ability to use a dorito, some duct tape, and a paper clip to create a time machine” or “someone who can jump-start a truck with a cactus!”

We greatly look forward to meeting and working with him in California!
Olof Para High Perfomance Clinic Announcement

Misdee Olofolof1image05olofblackprong6

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Marcia Putnam.


1. May 30th – Para Driving clinic at Carlisle Academy in Lyman Maine
Clinician: Para Equestrian World Champion Diane Kastama
Contact Sarah Armentrout
at or 207-985-0374

2. June 15-16 USEF Para-Equestrian Driving Clinic at Rancho Murieta, CA
All levels welcome Novice to Advanced – no fee
– borrow a horse and carriage or bring your own.
Clinicians: Hardy Zantke and Diane Kastama
Contact Laureen Johnson at USEF for an application
at or 908-326-1155

3. June 18-19 Shriner’s Hospital Camp for children at Gayla Driving Center, Georgetown, KY
Contact Debbie Banfield for more information at or 502-863-5113

4. Oct 5,6th Para Driving Clinic at Gayla Driving Center, Georgetown, KY
Clinician: Sara Schmitt – 2014 Coach of Team USA.
Contact Diane Kastama
at or 805-343-6026

Two Day USEF High Performance Para Clinic
Para-Equestrian drivers, as well as riders, attended the clinic hosted by USEF at the Rancho Murieta Equestrian Center in California. In attendance were six of our drivers working with cllnicians Hardy Zantke and Diane Kastama to whom we owe a heartfelt thank you. There were joint sessions and lunches with the para dressage riders, coaches, USDFD Board members, US Para Equestrian Association representatives and USEF Para Discipline Director, Laureen Johnson.

Break out sessions for the drivers included dressage on day one, cones instruction on day two, and wonderful opportunities to share ideas and collaborate with other para-equestrians and program directors. In the afternoon on day two the para riders were game enough to even give driving a try!! See photos below.

Many thanks to USEF for hosting such a memorable event!!

Apply for a Para-Equestrian Identity Card

Dear USDFD Member,
In order to compete as a disabled driver in FEI Competitions for the disabled, you must apply for a Para-Equestrian Identity Card (PE ID Card) through a formal “classification” process. The main reason to hold a PE ID Card is that it is required for competing as a member of Team USA in the FEI World Championships for Disabled Drivers held every two years.

Classification involves an evaluation of your disability by a trained FEI Classifier or Physical Therapist to establish a profile number and then a “Grade.” For driving we have Grade 1 and Grade 2 drivers.
Please see

If you are interested in signing up for the March 12th classification in Wellington, please notify Laureen Johnson at USEF and Diane Kastama at USDFD.

For any questions or for further information, please contact Diane.

Three World Champions In Combined Driving Featured In Clinic in Ocala For A Great Cause

2nd Annual – Day of Clinics with Champions

Dear USDFD Member,

The 2nd Annual “Day of Clinics with Champions” will be held on Jan.10 in Ocala, Florida as a benefit for USDFD. For each participant the event will contribute $25 to USDFD in support of Team USA! Clinicians will be Koos de Ronde, Suzy Stafford and Thorsten Zamerbowicz. In addition a marathon safety talk will be held during the BBQ lunch and navigator clinics are also available. USDFD Members are encouraged to attend, although this is not a clinic specifically for disabled drivers. Please pass the word among your driving friends and contact

See additional information in the attachment.

Please also note that we have an ongoing offer of support for USDFD from Southern States Feed. USDFD will receive 10 cents for every bag of Southern States Feed and 25 cents for every bag of Triple Crown, Legends, or other premium feed. Please cut off the proof of purchase coupons from the upper corner of the bags and mail them to Gloria Ripperton. She has graciously volunteered to collect the coupons and present them to Southern States for their donations. Many organizations such as 4H and Riding for the Disabled currently take advantage of this offer and it can mount up in value.

Gloria Ripperton
535 Webster Road
Pittsboro, NC 27312

See the following link for all feeds that qualify.

Para-Equestrian Developing Driver Clinic a Roaring Success

Lodi, Calif. – October 21, 2013 – United States Driving for the Disabled presented another exciting clinic for Para-Drivers October 9-13, 2013. Held during the the Shady Oaks Combined Driving Event (CDE) in Lodi, Calif., six Para-Equestrian drivers were given the opportunity to clinic with top professionals during the same weekend as their competition. Clinicians included Fritz Grupe, who represented USA in the FEI World Pairs and is host and builder of California’s premier Combined Driving event Shady Oaks; Drew Callahan, Advanced Driver and Driving and Dressage trainer and coach based in Scottsdale, Ariz.; and Diane Kastama, Rupert and George Tony Adams on the back

Diane Kastama, World Champion in Para-Equestrian Driving Grade 1 and Advanced Combined Driving Single and Pair competitor. The clinic included private instruction in Dressage, Cones, and Hazards in addition to group course walks to discuss speed, options, and how to approach tricky sets on the hazard course. The clinic was free to United States Driving for the Disabled members.

The Para-Equestrian drivers that participated included Stefanie Putnam (Grade 1) driving Lazlo, a Holstiener owned by Anke Magnusson in Training Single Horse; Ginny Leal (Grade 2) driving her own Halflinger Dancer in Training Single Horse; Judy Smith (Grade 1) driving Access Adventure’s pair of Percherons in Training Horse Pair; Tracy Bowman (Grade 1) driving her own Bella, a Welsh Cob at Preliminary Single Pony; Anne Hansen driving her own Zorro a Saddlebred Friesen cross at Intermediate Single Horse; and Diane Kastama (Grade 1) driving her own pair of Welsh Cobs, Rupert and George at Advanced Pair Horse.

All drivers were competing in open classes and divisions during the Shady Oaks CDE. On Wednesday, Oct. 9, Drew Callahan gave individual schooling dressage lessons to the competitors as they arrived. Callahan continued on Oct. 10, with the remaining para-equestrians after his own Intermediate test. All participants raved about the assistance they were given and they were thrilled to have had the opportunity to recieve extra instruction. Friday afternoon, Advanced Pair driver and host of Shady Oaks, Fritz Grupe, took all participants through the hazard course helping each driver with their chosen route. After everyone went through, Fritz and Diane Kastama went back and walked the hazards with the Advanced routes in mind. Saturday afternoon, the cones course opened for walking and Drew Callahan met with Para-Equestrian drivers and answered any questions the drivers may have had about the course.

For more information about this or future clinics please contact Diane Kastama at

Shady Oaks CDE – Lodi, CA – October 9-13, 2013

Clinicians: Fritz Grupe, Represented USA in the FEI World Pairs, host and builder of California’s premier Combined Driving event Shady Oaks.
Drew Callahan, Advanced driver, Driving and Dressage trainer and coach, based in Scottsdale, Az
Diane Kastama, World Champion in Para-Equestrian driving Grade 1. Competes at Advanced combined driving single and pair.

Format of clinic:
Wed afternoon, Thursday – Individual dressage session with Drew Callahan on day prior to
competitors scheduled dressage time. Drive your test with Drew and get instant feedback on what
you can do to improve your test the next day
Friday afternoon – Group walk with Fritz Grupe out in the hazards. Discuss your routes ask
questions of Shady Oaks expert on these hazards.
Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning – Group walk of cones course with Drew Callahan, discuss
options to cones, places to make up speed how to approach the tricky sets. Time will be decided based
on when cones course is open for inspection.

Shady Oaks Clinic Flyer

Contact Diane Kastama , 805-458-2428

Free Para-Equestrian Developing Driver Clinic August 10-11, 2013

Howell, NJ-August 5, 2013– United States Driving for the Disabled, USPEA Logo Inc. (USDFD) will host a free driving clinic at Celtic Charms Therapeutic Horsemanship in Howell, NJ on August 10-11, 2013. Sponsors for the Para-Equestrian Developing Driver Clinic include the United States Para-Equestrian Association (USPEA) and United States Equestrian Federation (USEF). The Para-Driving clinic is held in conjunction with USDFD, USPEA, USEF, Celtic Charms Therapeutic Horsemanship, and Ann Miles of the Carriage Barn in New Hampshire. The no-cost clinic is for all levels of drivers including beginners and will include clinician Sara Schmitt. It will feature a “try-it-and-see-if-you-like-it” portion for anyone interested in testing out this unique sport.The clinic will provide instruction in driven dressage, hazards and cones. Lessons will be adapted to the skill level of each driver. Bring your own horse and carriage or let the USDFD know if you need to borrow a horse and equipment. The clinic will also have a Para-Equestrian classifier August 10th for those interested in competing in Para-Driving or Para-Dressage in the future. For more information on the Developing Drivers Clinic in Howell, NJ; the Judge’s Critique in Philomath, Oregon; or to make a donation to support USDFD’s efforts, please contact Diane Kastama at or call 805-343-6026.

2013 USDFD Para-Equestrian Developing Driver Clinic Fast Facts:

What: 2013 USDFD Para-Equestrian Developing Driver Clinic
When: August 10-11, 2013
Time: 9:00 a.m.
Where: Celtic Charms Therapeutic Horsemanship, 671 Fort Plains Road Howell, NJ, 07731.
Contact Information:Diane Kastama at or call 805-343-6026.
Host: United States Driving for the Disabled, Inc.
Sponsors:United States Para-Equestrian Association (USPEA) and United States Equestrian Federation (USEF)

908Howell, NJ-August 20, 2013– United States Driving for the Disabled,  Inc. (USDFD) hosted a successful free driving clinic at Celtic Charms Therapeutic Horsemanship in Howell, NJ on August 10-11, 2013. Sponsors for the Para-Equestrian Developing Driver Clinic included the United States Para-Equestrian Association (USPEA) and United States Equestrian Federation (USEF). The    Para-Driving clinic is held in conjunction with USDFD, USPEA, USEF, Celtic Charms Therapeutic Horsemanship, and Ann Miles of the Carriage Barn in New Hampshire. The clinic was for all levels of drivers and included clinician Sara Schmitt.

The clinic provided instruction in driven dressage, hazards and cones and lessons were adapted to the skill level of each driver.

The Para-Equestrian Driving Clinic was a raging success. There were 8 driving lessons on Saturday and 7 on Sunday, August 11. There were 9 participants over the course of the weekend and 2 Para-Equestrians were Nationally classified. All the drivers and potential drivers used provided horses and ponies.  Borrowed horses/ponies included: Wilbur, a Halflinger, and his Glinkowski 4-wheel carriage loaned to the program by the Neuberg’s at Nearaway Farms;  Quackers, a Standardbred, and his Meadowbrook cart loaned by  Ellen Weisfeld and Mary Alice Goss; Misty, a Halflinger pony, owned by Celtic Charms and Nancy Forsyth’s Pacific Cart; and clinician Sara Schmitt brought her own competition horse Savanah, a Frisian Saddlbred Cross mare,used by the advanced para-equestrians.

902Saturday, August 10, started with pairing drivers with horses and carriages to figure out what would work best.  There was a cones course of 10 FEI cones setup and Sara Schmitt worked with each driver on steering accurately through the cones and working on getting the horses to go forward and straight.  Ann Miles worked with many of the beginning drivers on the basics of driving straight. This was executed by following a young man, Josh, that jogged the cones course in front of them.  Sunday, the drivers were introduced to a hazard and another cones course where the beginners drove gates A,B, and C and the more advanced A,B,C,D.  Diane Kastama and Sara Schmitt discussed how to drive hazards and take into consideration the ability to turn left or right depending on ones own disability.
The clinic was very successful resulting in 4 para-equestrian riders who are hooked on driving and want to continue to pursue the sport of Combined Driving. Our most advanced driver worked on her cones skills and hazard skills to help her in her future shows at the Intermediate level in Open competition.  Many drivers were enthused to see how fast they could drive and plan to continue their instruction at Celtic Charms Therapeutic Horsemanship center.

Para-Equestrian Developing Drivers Clinics – July 12,13,14:

DianeTalkThe CDE at Inavale in Oregon is hosting a judge’s critique of Dressage for the para-equestrian drivers that will be competing there. Judges Debbie Banfield–past president of USDFD and current board member, Boots Wright–last year’s chef d equipe at the para-equestrian world championships in Breda, and Mike McLennan will discuss with each competitor how they did and ways they can improve their driving.
Signup Form

USDFD and Celtic Charms – August 10,11:

SallyUSDFD and Celtic Charms Therapuetic Horsemanship center in Howell, NJ, and Ann Miles of the Carriage Barn in New Hampshire are hosting a developing drivers clinic. This clinic will be modeled after the successful March clinic held in Moorpark , CA . Sara Schmitt will be the clinician. Sara is a USEF ‘S’ dressage judge and ADS ‘r’ judge based in Beminster , NJ . Sara is a Bronze, Silver and Gold medalist and has won numerous regional and national awards. She has represented the United States at three World Pony Driving Championships and is a two-time National Singles Pony Champion; she has trained horses, riders and drivers from the lower levels through FEI levels. Ann Miles is Executive Director of The Carriage Barn Equine Assisted Therapy Programs. The Carriage Barn seeks to promote the health and well-being of disabled individuals through equine activities. Diane Kastama Vice President of USDFD has represented the United States in 5 Para-Equestrian World Championships coming home with Individual Gold, Silver and Bronze and Team Silver and Bronze. Celtic Charms Therapeutic Horsemanship currently offers riding opportunities for those with disabilities and is developing a carriage driving program. They are very excited about hosting the USDFD clinic, thereby furthering their own knowledge of carriage driving for those with challenges. A USEF classifier will be available to classify those para-equestrians who wish to compete on Saturday Aug. 10. These clinics are free to USDFD members and we want to thank everyone who is donating their time and services to make these clinics happen. NJUSDFD Clinic

For more information on the clinics or to make a donation to support the clinics call or email Diane Kastama, – 805-343-6026